Friday, 29 June 2007

Chocolate Macaroons

the utter gorgeousness of just one mouthful of these...reveals the rank inadequacy of language - Nigella Lawson

And that's probably true, because out of this recipe, which should have made at least 18-20 macaroons, I managed to get 10. Just one bite is all you'll get!

When Bells and I were discussing what we planned to make on the weekend, she mentioned she was going to try the pistachio macaroons, which sound fabulous. But to sound a note of warning, I had to mention the disaster that was my experience with Chocolate Macaroons - pretty much same recipe but different nuts.

The verdict:
Unusual or substituted ingredients: Not really. The recipe calls for ground almonds. I've no idea if you can buy ground almonds (I expect you can, I just couldn't see them in the supermarket) and assuming they are different to almond meal (which I think they must be, as Nigella uses almond meal elsewhere in HTBADG), I just bought whole almonds, and ground them in the food processor - that sounds right doesn't it?!
Special utensils or cookware: The macaroon mix is supposed to be piped onto the baking tray. So I got out my fab-o tupperware icing ball and used that. I needn't have bothered. The painstakingly piped macaroon mix just blurbed into a dollop sized blob on the tray. So don't worry about the piping, just use a spoon.

Sauciness: Nigella suggests using baking paper lined trays. As I always do with biscuits, I use my tupperware silicone sheets (have I mentioned how much I love Tupperware??!!). Well, that was a mistake. These little suckers were so saucy they stuck to the sheet. So for round two, I thought, well, maybe Nigella's right, maybe I should use baking paper. Heh. Big mistake. Stuck even worse.

Of the 20 macaroon rounds on the sheet, I could use none of them. None. See the white rounds on the bottom of each one. That's the baking paper. Completely stuck. Thanks a bunch, Nigella!
Repeatability: I am not going to bother. I do accept that maybe I did something wrong with this recipe - maybe I should have just used almond meal. Maybe I used the wrong baking paper. I did think I might give the pistachio version a try, but I'll leave that to Bells.
Overall pleasure level: This was a rare Nigella failure. I did get 10 usuable macaroons, and they did taste pretty good sandwiched with the chocolate patissiere stuff (which is basically cream, chocolate and a little bit of butter), but a failure all the same. So it's a 4.

Stayed tuned for the next exciting episode of Macaroon. Will Bells shell eleventybillion pistachios by hand? Or will she buy them pre-shelled? Will she pipe or just dollop? And how many pistachios will she eat before putting them into the mix? And the real cliff-hanger - will they end up in the bin?